Germany beat N. Ireland to grab lead in Euro qualifying group
Northern Ireland forward Corry Evans (L) tugs back Germany's Toni Kroos during a UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying match in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Monday, Sept. 9. EFE/EPA/JOHN MCVITTY
Germany's Serge Gnabry (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Northern Ireland during a UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Monday, Sept. 9. EFE/EPA/JOHN MCVITTY
Northern Ireland's Niall McGinn (R) tries to pull away from Germany's Lukas Klostermann during a UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying match in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Monday, Sept. 9. EFE/EPA/JOHN MCVITTY
Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sep 9 (efe-epa).- Germany prevailed 2-0 over Northern Ireland here Monday to supplant the hosts as the leaders in Group C of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers.
While both teams have 12 points from five matches, the Germans have the edge on goal difference. The Netherlands, 4-0 winners Monday against Estonia, are third in the group with 9 points and have a game in hand.
The home side were physical from the start and the Germans struggled to get out of their own half for the first 15 minutes.
The high press created a great chance for the Northern Irish in the 6th minute, when a mistake by Toni Kroos left the ball at the feet of an unmarked Conor Washington, who would have scored but for a great stop by German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
And even after Germany began to make inroads, the hosts maintained their tactical discipline and Die Mannschaft's first real opportunity didn't come until first-half stoppage time, when Timo Werner forced a save from keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
The Germans were vastly more effective after the re-start and while Peacock-Farrell denied Marco Reus from close range in the 47th minute, he could do nothing about Marcel Halstenberg's volley a minute later.
The play began with a Serge Gnabry pass from midfield to Lucas Klostermann, who relayed the ball to Halstenberg waiting at the far post.
Klostermann could have made it 2-0 in the 50th minute, but he sent the ball over.
Werner's shot two minutes later was turned aside for a corner and Peacock-Farrell did well to stop a Reus free kick in the 56th minute.
Northern Ireland nearly equalized on a strike by Stuart Dallas in the 63rd minute and despite Germany's 75 percent possession, the outcome remained in doubt until Gnabry scored in the second minute of stoppage time with an assist from Kai Havertz.
Lineups Northern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell; Dallas, Cathcart, J.Evans, Lewis; Davis, McNair, Saville (Magennis, m.70); C.Evans, Washington (Lavery, m.83), McGinn (White, m.59).
Germany: Neuer; Klostermann, Ginter (Tah, m.40), Süle, Halstenberg; Kimmich, Kroos; Reus (Can, m.85), Brandt; Gnabry, Werner (Havertz, m.68). EFE rz/dr